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Power of the Presidency
November 12: George C. Edwards III, “The Nature of Presidential Leadership: Transformer or Facilitator?”
The internationally acclaimed, oft-quoted presidential scholar George C. Edwards III will give a sweeping view of the nature of presidential leadership. He will argue that despite conventional wisdom about the power of the presidency and the transformational potential of leadership, presidents persuade few people to support them and must rely on exploiting opportunities rather than creating them in order to bring about changes in public policy.
George C. Edwards III is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and holds the George and Julia Blucher Jordan Chair in Presidential Studies at the Bush School, Texas A&M University. He has taught at Oxford University and the University of London and has held senior visiting appointments at Peking University; Hebrew University, Jerusalem; and the United States Military Academy. He is an associate member of Nuffield College, University of Oxford, and the editor of Presidential Studies Quarterly. His recent books include On Deaf Ears: The Limits of the Bully Pulpit and Why the Electoral College is Bad for America. His book Governing by Campaigning focuses on the politics of the George W. Bush presidency.
November 5 (new date): Francis J. Gavin, “Elections, the Presidency, and the Making of U. S. Global Policy”
Why do we have such ineffectual debate about U. S. foreign policy during election cycles? After all, it is one issue that is under the control of the chief executive, unlike cultural matters or macroeconomic performance. Understanding how the American president engages the rest of the world—and how U. S. foreign policy is developed and executed—is of paramount importance. Francis J. Gavin will investigate these and other questions by examining the role of the president and how this role has influenced international relations and fundamentally altered American institutions, traditions, and political character. He will conclude with an assessment of emerging international policy decisions.
Francis J. Gavin is the first Tom Slick Professor of International Affairs at the LBJ School at the University of Texas in Austin and the founding director of studies for the Robert S. Strauss Center there. He is the author of Gold, Dollars, and Power: The Politics of International Monetary Relations, 1958–1971 (2004). He has won several prestigious awards and honors, and his current research project is entitled “Strategy and Arms Control Reconsidered: Reassessing the History of Missile Defense, Nuclear Proliferation, and U. S. National Security Policy.” He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
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